BUILD Q2 2019

55 Q2 2019 BUILD In addition to this, our overall mission is to find the very best properties for our clients. Our slogan is finding the extraordinary. We achieve this by listening to them to understand what each buyer is searching for, all the while being sensitive to the pace and timing of their investment. The purchase of a property overseas can be a daunting task – foreign language paperwork alone can trigger concern even in quite experienced buyers. At Urbane, we are aware of this and never take any concern lightly. We look at the whole process from the very start, to moving in, from the customer point of view. Also, we have deconstructed the process so that different specialists are involved in each part of the process. In our experience, this is more efficient and ultimately provides more peace of mind than if we assign a single person to a customer from start to finish. In this way, we like to say that we do not sell properties but instead we create a safe environment for our customers to invest. This “Customer First” approach is achieved by a careful monitoring of customer communication – we ensure that our sales professionals listen, take notes and confirm with customers not just what they are searching for, but why they are looking. The Barcelona real estate industry is quite competitive, with both international and national estate agencies operating here. The city itself is flanked by mountains to one side and by the sea on the other which leads to a shortage of product. The centre of Barcelona has a world famous “grid” system called “Eixample” or Expansion. This was built in the late 19th to early 20th century and was well designed to ensure an easier growth to the city. At the same time there was a growing interest in Art Nouveu architecture across Europe. As a result, Barcelona became one of the most remarkable locations for this tendency – known as Modernism in Spain. These unique aspects of the city conspire to become both advantages and challenges for the market. The geography means there is little in the way of land for new development. As such, the stock of modernist buildings are in the main listed and protected, which in turn leaves us with a small stock of properties to work with. The stock that we can offer is invariably refurbished properties or properties that are in need of refurbishment. This lack of supply, as in all economic models, leads to price increases. In the last two years alone, we have seen price increases of more than 20%. In November 2013, the Spanish government introduced a law called The Entrepreneur’s Law (La Ley de Emprendedores) which incentivizes investment into Spain by facilitating Spanish residence to investors who comply with certain conditions. In terms of real estate, an investment of five hundred thousand Euros or more into Spanish real estate will secure a Spanish residence visa. In Barcelona, this has seen an increase of Chinese investment to the extent that they are now the number one investor in Barcelona real estate. This is attractive to investors and to lifestyle buyers alike, but does present a challenge in terms of listing. In a market with a scarce supply of property, each agent has to work at the top of their game to gain quality listings. Over the years, Urbane has become adept at identifying what we believe are the best quality properties in the best areas. We strive to keep our listings up to date by providing the vendors with real time quality feedback so that we can keep to our mission of finding the extraordinary for our customers. At Urbane, we have long understood that the use of cutting- edge technology can help to enhance the service we provide our customers, both vendors and buyers. We were one of the first estate agents in Barcelona to introduce a full CRM system for improved customer communication and to better match customer search criteria with our portfolio of properties. The use of a system like this ensures no customer is left behind, no call goes unanswered and all emails receive timely and quality responses. Looking to the future we see that our expertise in boutique services in city centre projects can be applied equally well to markets such as Lisbon and Oporto in Portugal. We are already working closely with existing partners on the development side who have begun development in these cities. There are also challenges which we may have to face in the near future. However, we are working hard to illustrate that the challenges are not issues that will have a long-term effect on Barcelona in terms of real estate. The city is the same great city as it always was, and the property is still some of the best in the world.